• This picture of an anonymous First Army Soldier giving pizza to the homeless was posted to social media March 3, 2014, and immediately widely shared, generating thousands of hits and hundreds of positive comments in just a couple of days. It was later discovered the Soldier in the picture is Cpl. Derno McCary, an observer-coach/trainer with 2-312th Regiment, 174th Infantry Brigade, Division East, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The photo was taken by another 2-312th observer-coach/trainer, Sgt. Richard Saenz, when the two Soldiers volunteered their off-duty time to hand out dozens of pizzas to homeless people in Camden, N.J., March 2. Saenz posted the photo online not for personal recognition, he said, but hoping to inspire others to help the needy in their communities.

    Soldier serving homeless goes viral on social media

    This picture of an anonymous First Army Soldier giving pizza to the homeless was posted to social media March 3, 2014, and immediately widely shared, generating thousands of hits and hundreds of positive comments in just a couple of days. It was later...

  • Sgt. Richard Saenz, an observer-coach/trainer with 2-312th Regiment, 174th Infantry Brigade, Division East, First Army, volunteers during his off-duty time to serve pizza to homeless people in Camden, N.J., March 2, 2014. Saenz, originally from Camden, collected donations from 2-312th Soldiers to purchase the pies. Saenz said seeing a friend helping those in need motivated him to find ways he can give back and make a difference.

    Soldier serving homeless goes viral on social media

    Sgt. Richard Saenz, an observer-coach/trainer with 2-312th Regiment, 174th Infantry Brigade, Division East, First Army, volunteers during his off-duty time to serve pizza to homeless people in Camden, N.J., March 2, 2014. Saenz, originally from Camden...

  • Cpl. Derno McCary, an observer-coach/trainer with 2-312th Regiment, 174th Infantry Brigade, Division East, First Army, volunteers during his off-duty time to serve pizza to homeless people in Camden, N.J., March 2, 2014. The pizza was purchased with donations from members of the 2-312th, which is based at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. Another picture of McCary, taken by fellow observer-coach/trainer Sgt. Richard Saenz and posted online March 3, was immediately widely shared, generating thousands of hits and hundreds of positive comments in just a couple of days. Saenz, who organized the pizza delivery, said he posted the photo not for personal recognition, but hoping to inspire others to help the needy in their communities.

    Soldier serving homeless goes viral on social media

    Cpl. Derno McCary, an observer-coach/trainer with 2-312th Regiment, 174th Infantry Brigade, Division East, First Army, volunteers during his off-duty time to serve pizza to homeless people in Camden, N.J., March 2, 2014. The pizza was purchased with...

JOINT BASE McGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. (March 20, 2014) -- Soldiers serve their country every day. But a photo posted on social media March 3, of an anonymous First Army Soldier giving pizza to the homeless highlighted this commitment at the community level.

The photo was widely shared on social media and generated thousands of hits and hundreds of positive comments in just a couple of days.

The Soldier in the picture is Cpl. Derno McCary, an observer-coach/trainer with 2-312th Regiment, 174th Infantry Brigade, Division East. The photo was taken by another 2-312th observer-coach/trainer, Sgt. Richard Saenz, when the two Soldiers volunteered their off-duty time to hand out dozens of pizzas to homeless people in Camden, N.J., March 2.

The pizza delivery was Saenz's idea, according to McCary.

"I told him I would definitely go with him," McCary said. "The reception that we got was outstanding, but I was just doing my part. It felt good."

Saenz, who grew up in Camden, witnessed the hardships these people experience while working as a state employee in the city. Years later, seeing a friend helping those in need motivated Saenz to find ways that he, too, could give back and make a difference. He organized the pizza delivery with considerable donations and support from his unit.

"It was fun to do, watching people's faces light up," Saenz said. "People would tell me that they hadn't had pizza in years."

Saenz and his team leader, Sgt. 1st Class Randall Nieves, made another night-time food delivery to homeless compounds in Camden, March 5, handing out boxes of fruit and dozens of loaves of bread to grateful recipients.

Despite the cold, several people came out of their snow-covered, makeshift shelters to greet the Soldiers and thank them for their service.

"What (a Soldier) does reflects greatly on the Army, so when Sgt. Saenz came up with this idea, our whole team supported him," Nieves said. "There are things here we can do. We need to help people here."

Saenz and the 2-312th team hope to continue making deliveries. Friends and relatives of Soldiers in the unit have offered to contribute money and supplies to aid in their efforts.

"You've always got to try to do something to make people feel better," Saenz said. "That is part of a philosophy I have been trying to work on."

Saenz said he posted the picture of McCary online because of the way his friend inspired him to help.

"I didn't want any recognition. I just wanted to pay it forward," Saenz said. "Hopefully somebody else will want to do something to help."

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First Army Division East, in partnership with the United States Army Reserve and Army National Guard, advises, assists and trains Reserve Component Forces, in both pre- and post-mobilization, through multicomponent integrated collective training, in accordance with Army Total Force Policy, Department of the Army, Forces Command and First Army directives, to achieve Army Force Generation-directed readiness requirements.

Page last updated Thu March 20th, 2014 at 00:00